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TOUGH AS NAILS: Cal Clutterbuck Reveals Lasting Effects from Skate Cut Last Year



Cal Clutterbuck, New York Islanders

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Hockey players are often referred to as a different breed, and New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck held true to that adage on Monday.

Following the team’s first day of on-ice workouts, Clutterbuck revealed that he didn’t have feeling in three of his fingers from a skate cut he suffered in December of 2019. The incident — a rather scary one — took place in Boston after the skate of Patrice Bergeron cut Clutterbuck’s wrist.

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“I still have issues with my hand. I just have numbness,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “I had a nerve problem. My median nerve severed, so I still don’t have feeling in three of my fingers. It’s kind of normal now. I have full function and I have strength, so it’s really not that big of a deal.”

Clutterbuck did say that the effects of the injury could be permanent, but added that his doctors had confidence that it was headed in the right direction.

“Nerves are obviously difficult to repair,” Clutterbuck said. “Luckily I had a clean cut and a really good surgeon taking care of it. Just a matter of time. I saw him sometime in September and he just said it’s just constantly coming back. It’s coming back slowly and it just is what it is.

“It’s gotten a lot better, but it’s definitely not normal.”

Cal Clutterbuck missed 30 games because of the injury and then dealt with some ailments during the playoffs. Clutterbuck finished the 2019-20 regular season with seven points (three goals, four assists) in 37 games. He also appeared in 21 playoff games and put up four points (two goals, two assists).

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The Islanders’ forward said that injury didn’t impact the way he played his game once he returned to the lineup.

“When I first came back last year that was tough,” Clutterbuck said. “I still didn’t have great strength and the numbness was at its fullest extent. I had a little bit of feeling at the base of my palm and that was it. That was tough, but the time we spent in quarantine actually helped me recover quite a bit and during the playoffs I was fine.”